Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blue Öyster Cult - Secret Treaties (1974)

Let's get some things out of the way first; some of this will be generally repetitive, but I feel the need to reassert myself. 1) I love Buck Dharma. Even in songs that I tepidly wave my meh scepter at, I totally dig his guitar-work. 2) BOC lyrics are fucking stupid. Like Pete Sinfield or Bernie Taupin, Sandy Pearlman is a poet (cough, cough) and poets love to relish; therefore 3) poor Eric Bloom, who was tasked with singing this poetry; it's in his sincerity that I find him annoying.

That said, let's begin. I've set the bar mighty low, haven't I? Fortunately, this is probably BOC's most cohesive album. When I say there aren't any bad songs, it's because there really aren't any. Despite stupid titles like "Career Of Evil," Subhuman" and "Dominance And Submission," the album is pretty solid. Sure, the harmonies and textures are still a bit odd, but that's BOC. What should really get you ramped up, though, is the album's final three tracks. The tasty opening riffage of "Harvester Of Eyes," the manic flailing (and abrupt ending) of "Flaming Telepaths" and the grandiloquence of "Astronomy" are the main reasons I come back for refills, but there's so much more to them than that. I wish they were streamlined into one long epic song, really, but I suppose sometimes it's more feasible to eat a slice rather than a whole pie. Oh well. I know people know their hits, but hits sometimes are just shining beacons on otherwise incredibly dross albums. With this one, you won't skip a track. Just taste the tastiness already, because Buck Dharma's gonna git you wit it. B


taotechuck said...

I don't know this Sinfield fella well enough to comment, but his Wikipedia page claims "Sinfield's visionary poetry is deeply influenced by William Shakespeare, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Blake and Rainer Maria Rilke."

If my ass is influenced by Rilke, does my ass suddenly become a brilliant poet?

Anyway, BÖC... haven't listened to them since 8th grade, but I've been considering going back and revisiting some of their early albums. This just might be the push I need.

Master Cianan said...

ooh, ooh, this is a really good one. I'm usually cherry-picking songs off their other albums to listen to, but this one gets played straight through, sometimes twice in a row. I'm usually hopped up enough to hit play again after listening to "ME 262". And "Career of evil" is just a perfect blueprint of how to be. Even when radios appear.

The Mad Hatter said...


Yeah, I tried patenting my left middle finger for overuse and exposure -- claiming I was influenced by Britney Spears -- but they wouldn't allow it.

Master Cianan,

I agree. I can't listen to any of their other albums either without skipping a bunch. I think a good indicator, and I should have mentioned this in the post, is that perhaps, arguably, a good barometer that this is indeed a good album is that it features none of their radio hits. Can't be applied to every band, but it surely applies to them. Solid stuff.

Starrlight said...

Shelly, Blake and Rilke are rolling in their graves at the concept of inspiring Don't Fear The Reaper :P

That said I actually LIKE BOC. I'll have to check this one out.

Dan said...

I think BOC Secret Treaties II was their album Agents of Fortune. That, in my opinion, was their high times.